Liposuction

Some people have localized areas of body fat – lumps and bumps on the hips, abdomen, thighs, love handles, face or neck – that are extremely resistant to diet and exercise. It can be very frustrating when putting in a lot of effort to combat excess fat, to see no results month after month. This is why Dr. Ellen Mahony really enjoys performing liposuction procedures for the patients who come to her looking for solutions. The results are transformative for her patients’ appearance and their attitudes!

Despite the range of non-surgical fat removal procedures available – CoolSculpting, Zerona, laser liposuction, SculpSure, Vanquish and others – surgical liposuction remains the gold standard. The fact is that many of the non-surgical options are performed by people who aren’t surgeons but rather looking for “add on” procedures they can offer in their medical spas or as sole practitioners. Unfortunately, there can be a greater risk of contour irregularities or cysts that are left behind after fat is liquefied which can require surgical correction.

During the liposuction surgical procedure, Dr. Mahony will use small instruments to remove fatty tissue just below the surface of your skin, achieving a smoother, more sculpted body appearance. She addresses your particular anatomy and fat placement to make sure you come away with a carefully crafted result.

Some people choose to have only liposuction to improve their body contours, and they’re very pleased with their results. Others enhance their liposuction results by combining additional plastic surgery procedures, such as a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, or facial sculpting. Ellen’s patients even travel to her Westport, CT office from other areas, such as New Haven and Westchester NY, for her liposuction skills and experience.

If you’re not sure exactly what’s right for you, sit down and have an honest, woman-to-woman chat with Ellen. Together, you’ll determine whether you’re a good fit for liposuction. For example, it’s not a procedure to achieve weight loss. You’ll define the results you’re looking to achieve with Dr. Mahony as your partner.

After you visit Ellen for liposuction, you can look forward to a more contoured figure that feels better and looks great — both in and out of clothing.

See Ellen’s results: before and after liposuction.

FAQ

What is cellulite and can liposuction help?

The “cottage cheesy,” dimpled look of cellulite represents pockets of fat below the skin that are pushing up to the surface between fibrous bands of connective tissue. The strain on the tissue bands from the pressure pulls the skin down and causes indentations. The bands pull downward and the fat pushes upward causing an uneven skin surface. Over time as the skin ages, gravity causes further strain on the bands, accentuating the appearance of cellulite. There are a variety of laser and heat source treatments intended to improve the look of cellulite and/or melt some fat and break up some fibrous bands. Results are variable. Liposuction by a board-certified plastic surgeon can be delicately performed to reduce superficial fat deposits and break up fibrous bands.

How young is too young for liposuction?

I am a pretty big advocate for waiting until a young person “matures” – both in mind and body – before considering liposuction surgery. I’ve found that certain body types tend to hang on to fat during the pre-teen and teenage years more than others (there’s a reason it’s called baby fat!) and when you see them five or so years later, they’ve often dialed in their eating and exercise habits just as their bodies are adjusting to being in adult form! Liposuction shouldn’t be considered as a quick fix alternative to the healthy habits that (usually) address extra weight. As always, each case is individual and there are certain genetic conditions that can cause stubborn weight gain which require a visit with your specialist doctor before any aesthetic procedure is performed.

What is the average length of time it takes to perform liposuction?

I consider liposuction to be a major surgery and the entire procedure, from arrival at the hospital to discharge can take 2-10 hours. This includes all of the “prep” in hospital including changing out of street clothes, surgical mark-up of the areas to be treated, meeting your anesthesiologist, establishing your IV line – everything! Your actual time in the OR varies but I like to estimate 2-4 hours. There are certain very fit patients with small areas of fat, i.e. a belly pouch or fat deposits on the hips, who might spend less time in the OR. Full body lipo takes much longer, along with multiple position changes.  I’ll know once we have our consultation and agree on how to approach your specific situation.

I’ve heard so much about lumps and swelling post liposuction that it makes me nervous about what will happen and what my results will be!

While swelling is part of the recovery process (as with many types of surgeries), lumps aren’t a given. I like to prepare my patients for the fact that they will be swollen so they don’t think they’ll be able to step out on a beach in a bikini a couple of weeks after liposuction. And part of my straight talk surgery prep also includes practical tips for what you can do before and immediately after your surgery to give yourself the best recovery and results possible. These include: eating a clean diet (avoid processed/salty foods, sugary beverages, alcohol), drinking lots of water, exercising, good sleep and self-massage of the areas to be treated. These things should be kept up immediately after surgery – especially massage of the treated areas, starting gently and progressing in intensity. When we meet for your post-op appointment, I will assess your progress and recommend a professional lymphatic massage session or two if I think it’s required.

What do you think about all of the new methods for fat removal? Do they work as well as traditional liposuction? I don’t like the idea of surgery!

I am a big fan of innovation in the field of aesthetics! There are a wealth of both surgical and non-surgical procedures that have come on the market in the past few years that deal with fat removal and I investigate and look into them all to stay current in my knowledge. I still believe that tumescent liposuction is, hands down, the best option for fat removal. It’s a technique that’s been proven over the years and, for me personally, I’ve perfected my approach and technique to give the best results with minimal risks. Yes, recovery is different and longer than non-surgical techniques such as Cool Sculpting but worth it for the stellar results.

What is the downtime with liposuction?

The general answer that I give my patients is that you’ll need about 3-5 days home from work and another 3-6 weeks before you do any strenuous exercise or lifting. The specific recommendation will need to wait until I meet you in our consultation and detailed recovery instructions will be given at our post-op visit during the week following your procedure. One thing you can count on is the value of massage and stretching after liposuction…feels so good and helps with healing!

I have a lot of weight to lose. How much fat is safe to remove during liposuction?

Liposuction should not be used a substitute for weight loss. In fact, it’s ideal for patients that have localized areas of fat that simply won’t respond to any diet or exercise efforts. It is generally recommended that the total amount of fat removed is less than 5,000 cc’s but, as always, I make the determination based on your unique physiology and health history and only after our in-depth consultation.

Will my fat come back after liposuction?

By the time you’re a teenager, you have as many fat cells as you will ever have. So, the only way you gain girth over time is by each fat cell storing more fat and becoming larger. The larger the cells, the bigger the person. Think of it this way, let’s say your stomach area is your problem area and there are 10 large fat cells in that location. If someone like me comes along and removes eight cells, you only have two cells left. The only way your stomach area could become large again would be if those two remaining cells stored so much fat that they took on the volume of the original 10 cells. This would take an awful lot of ice cream eating to accomplish and fortunately, is very unlikely!

Will liposuction help me lose weight?

In a very real sense, losing body mass does translate into a loss of weight but keep in mind, fat doesn’t weigh very much. Most people are more enthused with their new shape and loss of inches rather than pounds of lost weight. That “enthusiasm” often translates into a renewed commitment to maximize the sculpted results by working out more often and monitoring meals. Since both of these efforts contribute to burning calories, more weight loss often follows the procedure. So, think less about creating weight loss and more about restoring your shape. The rest will come with time!

Are there different kinds of liposuction?

Although there are many kinds of liposuction procedures (ultrasound, freezing, etc.), the gold standard remains tumescent liposuction. Although the interest in pursuing non-surgical procedures for the removal of fatty deposits is always high, the results remain mostly disappointing. There are a few reasons for this disappointment including: unsatisfactory results, inability to treat multiple areas in one sitting, contour irregularities, need for multiple treatments, time commitment, cost and inexperience of the provider. It’s very important for any patient to inquire about all of these issues in order to make an informed decision. Keep in mind that sometimes, “if it sounds too good to be true…it may not be true.” Until there is another gold standard, I would stick with tumescent liposuction.